South Korea in the Perspective of a Filipino Expatriate

Friday, April 26, 2013

6 Important Things a Foreigner Must Bring When Roaming Around South Korea Via Public Transportation


It's an understatement to say that transportation in South Korea is easy, convenient and hi-tech. I think they have invested and planned properly to make their transportation better.

If you are in a remote place and you want to call  a taxi, you can have it in an average span of 5 minutes. They have this system where you can just dial the number and they will send you the nearest taxi. Their buses are also clean and organized. You can pay through cash or T-money. But my most favorite transportation here is the Railway system. I like how disciplined they are when it comes to riding a train. It's easy to pay trough T-money and you won't get lost because you can trace the stations through on board maps and monitor.

If you are new in South Korea, whether you are here to work or to visit, you must bring these 6 important things with you or at least keep it handy in a pouch or in a bag.

1. T-Money

T-Money comes in different form. You need this to pay for your fare. For example, you want to travel through the metropolitan railway system, you can only pay your fare through T-money.

Image credit to Google Images
Or if you have existing bank account in Korea like Woori Bank, you can also use it as T-Money. You will know it's a T-money card when you see this logo:


You can buy T-money cards from selected convenience stores like 7-eleven or right within the train stations.

For T-money embedded in ATMs, you can reload it right before you enter the station. The reloading machine looks like this:




2. Cash

While you can travel around South Korea digitally, that is without the need of cash, I still think it is important to bring cash. Why? Because when you stop by every station in the railway, you can find almost anything worthy to buy. You can see book stores, food stalls and even coffee and soft drinks vending machines. The more won you got in your pocket, the better.



3. Map of Korea or Metropolitan Railway System brochure

Maps can be seen everywhere in every station, you sure would not get lost once you stuck in your travel. But I do recommend you bring you own map or even the railway system brochure. You can get one from the information office in every station. It looks like this:



It even has legends and colors so you can easily trace the railway line.

4. Documents- i.e. IDs, tickets and Passport

Bring all necessary documents when you go around roaming the city. For workers, always bring your alien card. This is the alien card issued by the Korean government for those who are legally staying and working in South Korea.

My boss told me I should bring this especially when riding public transportation because authorities are allowed to pull you off for random interrogation. If you have no passport or any legal documents or the alien registration card as shown above, you will be put into detention for further interrogation. So it is important to bring any or all documents that would testify that you are legally staying in this country.

5. Mobile Phone

If possible, smart phones. Travelling is awesome if accompanied with music. It would be good to listen to some good music while travelling. And I included it as one of important things to bring because if you get stuck somewhere, you can always call somebody to help you out. Or if you don't want to go around roaming with maps, you can install applications on your mobile phone to check your location and whereabouts.

6. Korean-English Dictionary

You must and you should know basic Korean words. If you can't memorize, bring a Korean-English Dictionary so you could at least communicate to Koreans or ask questions whenever needed.

Discover more about Korea by travelling using Public Transportation. Just prepare the things I mentioned above to experience smooth and seamless travel.

Happy travelling.....

23 comments:

  1. Csh? is it in US dollar or in Korean money? or I think it is better if we have both.

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    1. Yes, both can be accepted, but preferably Won.

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  2. I guess you can scratch the map and dictionary if you have a smart phone which has apps to help you out around your stay in Korea. I'm not sure for Korea but in Singapore, buses are all controlled and you can refer to the apps for the number and waiting times. For maps, you can follow directions by the GPS. For the dictionary, you can easily search a word or a phrase and follow what the audio said. :D

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    1. You have a point, everything can be done using smart phone. thanks for the idea

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  3. And for those who love street fashion like i do, DLSR/camera too! SK has one of the most stylish street fashion along with Singapore and HongKong! :)

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    1. wait, waaa,, I forgot the Camera... Of course that should be on the list. Take pictures or else it didn't happen

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  4. I never was any good at navigating my way through city streets, and if ever I find myself in Korea, I'd probably need a smartphone, a pair of Google glasses, a compass, maybe a sundial (you never know), some dried leaves if ever I wind up in some remote location where I'd need to start a signal fire, and probably several cans of tuna to get me through days, maybe weeks if i get lost...

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  5. A gorgeous Russian tour guide can be added too. LOL My brother is based in Seoul for the past 8 years. Oks daw talaga dyan.

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  6. I think we all need those on the list when traveling even here in Phil, well except for no1. When it comes to maps, I think it's hassle to bring one, I've tried that and it only made me more confused on which way to go. Lol! I think apps on smartphones are better like maps and navigation. Somehow they're detailed when it comes to streets :D

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  7. It's much easier traveling with prepaid cards on the MRT. Maps would also be helpful.

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  8. I was in South Korea 2 years ago. But I stayed in Jeonju the whole time, since I attended a film festival. Since it was a small town, my companions and I only took the free shuttle rides or would walk to our hotel. There wasn't a MTR in sight, so cards weren't a necessity for us.

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  9. Same here in KL, where top up cards used to travel around the city. It is very convenient and reduce the hassle showing your wallet in public when paying the fare.

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  10. Those cards are really important I guess... and very convenient too, how I wish our jeepneys will soon have those kind of technology.. we are just left behind. :(

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  11. am impressed with the T-Money payment system . I hope we could have this kind of transportation system in the Philippines, less hassle and not time consuming

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  12. Thanks for these tips! :) I haven't been to South Korea yet, but I hope I'll be able to visit some time soon. Anyway, I'll add a smartphone and a camera/DSLR for my personal list :)

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  13. I haven't been to Korea but I've heard that it is a beautiful place. I'll keep these tips in mind when I get the chance to visit Korea.
    - Wanderer Juan

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  14. One day, when I'm truly rich, I'll be going to Korea and will keep this list in mind. Those tickets really look cool, very much different with what we have here in PH.

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  15. You will surely appreciate the place once travelling via public transportation and those items you mentioned are truly essentials for travelers.

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  16. One day, I'll go to Korea, and this blog post will be my guide! =)

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  17. Interesting, and certainly worthy of note..
    I'd want to visit South Korea soon, well maybe when this conflict with the North ebbs down a lil bit.

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  18. The list is informative. Bringing a handy cash, a mobile phone, and IDs, are cool. When shall I visit this Hear of Asia?

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